OSHA watch

Replace MSDS with SDS: June 1 deadline

Beginning June 1, chemical manufacturers, distributors, importers, and employers must ensure all chemicals are shipped out with new labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that comply with the provisions in the updated Hazard Communication Standard. Now is the time for employers to prepare for the influx of new SDSs and put processes into place for ensuring new chemical hazard information is passed along to workers.

Employers were required to have trained all employees on the new label and SDS format by December 1, 2013. While not required, it may be a good idea to have refresher training. Furthermore, employers should review the new SDSs to make sure their precautionary measures are still in line with what the vendor is recommending and update their hazard communication binders. Expect changes, as there are new classification criteria for substances and more specific guidelines on what has to be on labels.

Winter storm hazards: Web page offers guidance for employers and workers

The Winter Weather Web page provides information on protecting workers from hazards they may face while working outside during the winter, how to recognize snow storm-related hazards, and the necessary steps that employers must take to keep workers safe while working in these conditions.

Memos issued on new electrical rule

As part of a legal settlement, several enforcement memorandums and a question-and-answer document were issued on the updated Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment Standard.

There is a Q & A, memo on fall protection, memo on enforcement dates and a memo on how the standard applies to tree trimming.

Hazard alert: Silica exposure during countertop installation

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) jointly issued a hazard alert about protecting workers from significant crystalline silica exposure during manufacturing, finishing, and installing natural and manufactured stone countertops. The alert jointly issued by OSHA and NIOSH explains how this hazard can be mitigated with simple and effective dust controls.

Health bulletin on grain-industry fumigants

Fumigants used in the grain industry contain chemicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease and other permanent health disorders among workers, according to a recent Safety and Health Information Bulletin.

New outreach materials focus on tree care workers; temporary workers

Two new bilingual, English and Spanish, on-the-job quick references are available for employers and employees. Tree Care Work: Know the Hazards addresses the most common tree care work hazards and ways in which employers can prevent them.

The Temporary Worker, a pocket-sized pamphlet reminds individuals working through a staffing agency that they have the same rights as any other worker. The pamphlet is part of OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative, which focuses on compliance with safety and health requirements when temporary workers are employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer.

Staffing association launches new Web page dedicated to temporary worker safety

The American Staffing Association has launched a new Web page dedicated to temporary worker safety entitled “Safety Matters: Keeping Temporary Workers Safe on the Job.” It includes various safety resources and links to OSHA publications.

Letters of interpretation: Injuries treated with kinesiology tape are recordable, definition of eye loss, amputation

The use of kinesiology tape goes beyond first aid and is akin to physical therapy; therefore, injuries requiring the tape are recordable, according to a recent letter of interpretation.

Another letter addressed the new Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses requirements and dealt with the definition of amputation and loss of an eye.

Arizona’s residential fall protection standards rejected

As expected, OSHA has rejected Arizona’s fall protection standards for residential construction, meaning the state’s employers must immediately comply with federal standards.

Recent fines and awards

Formed Fiber Technologies fined $108,800 for exposing workers to lacerations, amputation, other hazards – Maine

Formed Fiber Technologies LLC, which uses robots and other machines to make carpets and trunk liners for the automotive industry, put workers at risk of injuries by not ensuring proper safeguards on machines used at the company’s Auburn, Maine manufacturing plant.

Roofing contractor cited four years in a row – Massachusetts

For the fourth time in as many years, a roofing contractor, William Trahant, Jr. Construction Inc. of Lynn, Mass., was cited for exposing employees to what could be fatal falls. The one willful, one repeat and three serious violations resulted in fines of $43,560.

Shipyard and boat fabricating facility cited for repeat and willful violations – Michigan

Workers at Basic Marine Inc. were exposed to dangerous amputation hazards while operating press brakes, which cut large metal pieces weighing up to 450 tons, because safety mechanisms were not in place at Basic Marine Inc. Inspectors have found similar hazards three times at the Escanaba-based shipyard and boat fabricating facility and a follow-up inspection produced penalties of $242,940 for five repeated, three willful and 10 serious safety violations, including fall and respiratory hazards. The company has also been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Manufacturer exposes workers to amputation, other hazards and faces $63,000 in fines – Missouri

Workers were exposed to amputation and other serious hazards while operating presses at Gateway Extrusions’ aluminum parts manufacturing facility in Union, which was cited for one repeat and eight serious safety and health violations, with proposed penalties of $63,000.

Saia Motor Freight Line cited after explosion injures 4 in St. Louis – Missouri

Four employees were hospitalized, two of them critically injured, after an explosion at a St. Louis trucking terminal caused by a forklift’s ignition source and a loose coupling connection to a liquid propane gas tank. An investigation found one willful and 11 serious safety and health violations, resulting in proposed penalties of $119,000.

Garda Armored Car fails to train drivers on fire extinguisher use – Missouri

Garda Armored Car failed to train its employees to use portable fire extinguishers, despite being cited for the same violation in March 2013. Responding to a complaint, OSHA inspected the armored car company and found that the business had not trained employees as instructed and issued one failure-to-abate violation, with proposed penalties of $70,000.

Construction Company fails to provide fall protection leading to death of worker – Nebraska

A 42-year-old worker fell 16 feet to his death and a 25-year-old co-worker suffered serious injuries after their employer, Roeder Construction, failed to provide either man with fall protection as they worked on a residential roof. Penalties of $7,600 were assessed for two serious and one other-than-serious safety violations.

MP Global Products LLC exposes workers to fire, amputation hazards and faces $54,000 in penalties – Nebraska

In response to a formal complaint from an employee alleging unsafe working conditions, MP Global Products LLC in Norfolk was inspected. The investigation found multiple safety and health hazards at the company, which manufactures padding from recycled denim products and OSHA issued 11 serious violations and four other violations.

Hospital issued $201,000 in proposed fines after workers found to be exposed to contaminated laundry, tuberculosis risks – New York

New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center was cited with 13 willful, serious and health standard violations and proposed $201,000 in fines after an investigation found workers were exposed to laundry contaminated with blood, bodily fluids and other infectious materials. The Manhattan hospital replaced linen laundry bags with thin plastic bags that broke, exposing workers to health hazards

Seitz Technical Products fined more than $42K for exposing workers to chemical hazards – Pennsylvania

In response to a complaint, investigators found that workers were exposed to chemical hazards while assembling surgical carts used at medical facilities at the Oxford plant. Citations were issued for three repeat and five serious violations.

More than 1,000 worker injuries in past three years; Ashley Furniture fined $1.76M – Wisconsin

Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. employees have suffered more than 1,000 work-related injuries, including more than 100 amputations from woodworking machinery, over a three-and-a-half year period. A worker’s loss of three fingers led to an inspection of the Arcadia, Wis.-based furniture manufacturer and the company was cited for 12 willful, 12 repeated and 14 serious safety violations and placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for its failure to address these hazards. Proposed penalties total $1,766,000.

Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.

For Cutting-Edge Strategies on slashing Workers’ Compensation Costs visit www.PremiumReductionCenter.com

David Leng, CPCU, CIC, CBWA, CWCA, CRM

Author | Speaker | Certified Risk Manager | Certified Work Comp Advisor

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